Saints fans watched as the Vikings team drove down the field with ease against a defense featuring All-Pro players such as Demario Davis and Cameron Jordan. The Vikings were led by Kirk Cousins all game long, but he thrived in overtime. Cousins’ clutch factor showed through as he threw for 74 yards while converting two third downs as well. The game-ending throw was made two yards away from the endzone on third down. Cousins lobbed up a pass to his favorite tight end Kyle Rudolph, and that was the end of the game.
Just like last year, Saints fans and players cried out for a penalty to hopefully save their playoff lives. When looking back at the replay, fans pointed to Rudolph extending his arm to push off cornerback P.J. Williams. NFL Head of officiating Al Riveron told pool reporter Larry Holder, “There is contact by both players, but none of that contact rises to the level of a foul. This is consistent with what we have done all year long, we left the ruling on the field. We let it stand.” According to NFL overtime rules, only referees can determine when to review a play.
There was no apparent problem with the Saints gameplan. They were just downright bad. They looked rusty at times and looked like they didn’t know how to move the ball. A run defense that had faced the likes of Christian McCaffery, Ezekial Elliot, and Leonard Fournette looked completely dumbfounded as Dalvin Cook rushed for 94 running yards and two touchdowns.
There was one bright spot for the Saints offense, and that was utility phenom Taysom Hill. Hill completed his one long passing attempt that amounted to 50 yards. He also had another 50 yards on the ground, and two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown catch. Hill was the one reason that the Saints stayed in this game, and that has to make you think that Hill could be in for a more prominent role in the Saints offense in 2020.
Out of every player on the field, Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees has to be the most disappointed with his performance. He threw an interception into double coverage near the end of the first half and only amounted 208 passing yards with one touchdown. This performance was Brees’ worst of the year, and it was pretty an inconvenient time to have it. “You invest so much, and we have invested so much into it,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said to the press. “You understand that these opportunities are so few.”
The Vikings will now head into San Fransisco to take on a vaunted number 1 seeded 49ers team. They have one of the best defenses in the league and an offense that has looked sharp in important games. Currently, the 49ers come into Saturday’s divisional matchup favored by 6.5 points.